Djokovic exit dominates as Nadal and Raonic progress

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Denis Istomin stole the show during the Australian Open second round by dumping out world number two and six-time champion Novak Djokovic.

Title-holder Djokovic was expected to rival Andy Murray for the Melbourne Park crown after losing his position as the world's best to the Briton at the end of last year.

However, the Serbian found wildcard Istomin in inspired form, with the world number 117 prevailing 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in a remarkable match on Rod Laver Arena.

Also on Thursday, Rafael Nadal saw off Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets, while Milos Raonic is positioning himself well for a charge at the title following his win against Gilles Muller.

Nadal meets Alexander Zverev for a place in the fourth round, with Raonic set to face off against Gilles Simon.

Istomin's prize for getting the better of Djokovic is a third-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

 

DENIS THE MENACE

Nobody saw this one coming.

Djokovic's loss to Istomin represented his earliest grand slam exit since Wimbledon 2008 and worst performance in Melbourne for 11 years.

The 12-time grand slam champion was below his best against the Uzbek, a player he had beaten relatively comfortably in their previous five meetings, during which he dropped only one set.

Istomin, who won the Asia-Pacific wildcard play-off to earn a place in the draw, defied his ranking with a display of incredible shot-making.

Asked what he would take from the performance, Djokovic quipped: "[I] take my bags and I go home."

RAFA BAGS VICTORY

Nadal suffered no such problems as he cruised to a 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory over 2006 finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

The Spaniard struggled somewhat on his own serve in the early stages, but Baghdatis was wasteful with his break chances and allowed Nadal to take control.

Nadal barely gave his opponent a chance from thereon in, with the Cypriot growing increasingly frustrated - the size of the balls among his gripes, with the umpire suggesting a chance in temperature was the cause.

 

MILOS IN THE MIX

With Djokovic out, Raonic is now the top seed in his half of the draw and is second favourite behind Andy Murray to win his maiden grand slam title.

Like Nadal, Raonic is yet to drop a set at this year's tournament, having beaten Muller 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-4) on Thursday.

Next up for the Canadian is another Gilles - Simon this time - and few would bet against him going all the way in Melbourne this year. After a quarter-final in 2015 and a semi last time around, the 2017 final is the next step for Raonic.

 

SEEDS STABLE

Apart from Djokovic's shock exit, it was a good day for the seeds, with David Goffin, Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem among the high-profile winners.